Facebook can be deceiving. It’s natural for us to be ‘putting on our best face’ outwardly, while behind closed doors or in the quiet of our minds struggle with anxiety about our lives and our future.
It’s also human nature for us to reflect on our own mortality as the coronavirus pandemic ravages parts of our country and world, tapping into our worst fears.
But whether we’re suffering from an underlying health condition that elevates our risk and feeling vulnerable, or even if we’re safe, strong and healthy – every responsible parent in America should have a will or trust and an advance medical directive.
We don’t need a will or trust and advance medical directive because of COVID-19. But for some people who’ve been putting it off, COVID-19 is a stark reminder that writing their will or trust and advance medical directive is long overdue.
What Is the Difference Between a Will and Trust?
Having a will is of utmost importance in Virginia. If you die without a will or trust, your property will be distributed to family through a process called intestate succession in accordance with the Code of Virginia.
A will lays out how your property and assets will be distributed after your death. A properly drafted will, among other things, gives you the ability to nominate a guardian for your minor children in the event your children should be orphaned.
A trust, however, appoints a trustee, who could be a family member, to hold your property and assets for third parties, called “beneficiaries,” in the event of your death. There are many different types of trusts. Trusts are effectively used to hold money for minor children or grandchildren until they reach a certain age and avoid certain tax implications.
What Is An Advance Medical Directive and Power of Attorney?
Even prepared people who have written wills overlook the possibility of incapacitation which is, perhaps, a more likely scenario than death. For example, if, tragically, you are in a car accident where you survive but are left in a coma, a detailed will or trust won’t help. Your advance medical directive gives physicians and your loved ones the guidance they need to ensure your healthcare desires are carried out if you can’t communicate them on your own. And a medical power of attorney is a document that appoints someone of your choosing – the person you trust most – with the ability to make life and death medical decisions for you.
Contact Us for A Consultation
These are not one-size-fits-all legal tools. You need to consult with an attorney who will listen to your needs and walk you through options that are tailored to your situation.
I realize that these topics force us to confront uncomfortable questions. But I recently had an upfront view of a sad situation where the lack of legal planning tore family members apart, and I can tell you – avoiding these questions when you are healthy and coherent only makes difficult situations worse.
If there is a silver lining in this coronavirus pandemic, it’s that it has forced us to reorganize our priorities. It has reminded of us of what’s important – faith, family, our health. As we emerge from the COVID-19 lock-down, Toscano Law Group wants you to walk away with something constructive, something that will secure your family for a lifetime. It’s past time for you to write your will.
That’s why for the month of May we’re waiving our typical consultation fee for the first 30 minutes. Call us today.
-Diane Toscano, Esq.